written by: Kathy Foust
• edited by: Amanda Grove
• updated: 2/14/2012
If you're considering getting licensed for home daycare then you need to learn what qualifications you will need for licensing. This guide is a handy tool that breaks down some of the daycare qualifications that licensed daycares have to meet.
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Who Can Hold a Home Daycare License?
Obviously not just anyone can hold a home daycare license. While every state has their own specific requirements, there are some standards that are the same across the board. Below is a list of people that can hold daycare licenses. Keep in mind that the license belongs to the address, not the person holding it. Therefore, there are certain standards to be met by those living in the house as well as those actually running the daycare.
A person who does not have a felony or have someone in the home that does have a felony on their record.
A person who has not been convicted of, or who does not have someone living in the home that has been convicted of any type of child abuse or any other conviction having to do with violence whether it is a felony or not.
Those that go through the licensing program and are listed on the license for the home.
A person that holds an up to date certificate in CPR and First Aid.
A person who meets all of the above qualifications.
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Please keep in mind while reading this that state daycare regulations change without notice and may vary from state to state. This guide simply serves as a general preparation list for you to review and get an idea of whether or not you may qualify for home daycare licensing.
Sight and Sound- This is an issue that is regularly debated and changes almost yearly. For now, children must be kept within sound range. What this means is that the daycare provider must be able to hear the children at all times. When it changes to include sight, the daycare provider must be able to see the children at all times as well.
Maximum Capacity- The general rule here is that the daycare can only have 10 children enrolled at a time if the daycare is in a home and is licensed. This differs from being certified when the daycare can have only 10 nonrelated children enrolled at a time. This means that if you provide primarily for relatives you are better off being certified because you are allowed more children in the daycare. Providers should keep in mind when making their prices that even if a child is only at the daycare for an hour before school, they still count as one of the 10 enrolled children.
Staff to Child Ratio- The older the child is, the more of them you can have with one staff member. For example, the child ratio for infants may be 3:1 in your state. That means that if you have 3 infants and you are the only provider then your limit has been met. When you reach 4 children a second provider is needed. However with this second provider you now can have up to 6 infants, and so on.
Immunization and Emergency Contact Information- Every daycare is required to have immunization and emergency contact records for every enrolled child.
Dual Exits and Emergency Plans- Just like in a school, emergency plans need to be posted and practiced on a regular basis. There should also be two exits from the home in case of an emergency. Neither of those exits can be through a garage if there is any kind of chemical in the garage.
Attend Licensing Classes- Before a daycare is licensed, providers must attend classes to learn how to become licensed and what the state expects from the daycare. Some states also require the provider to at least be enrolled in CDA classes. Never fear because you can actually take CDA classes online!
Household Members- All household members, including pets will be reviewed. People will submit to a criminal history check and pets will be required to be registered with all shots current.
Pools- Kiddy wading pools are prohibited in most states while larger fenced in pools are approved as long as a staff member is actually in the pool or the fenced in area with the children. The wading pools were banned from daycares when toddlers expired due to their top half falling into the pool and the child lacking the strength to pull themselves out.
Fire- There needs to be a smoke detector on every floor of the home as well as one in the kitchen and children's sleep area. There should also be a fire extinguisher on every floor with one in the kitchen as well.
These are some of the guidelines that must be met in order to be licensed by the state. In many cases, certification is the route that suits providers, but does not carry the prestige that goes with actually being licensed. Be sure to check with your state for specific standards before investing time and money in something that you may not be able to qualify for.